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The state of UK sport?

The UK can boast 5 champions in their sport: Chris Froome, Mark Cavendish, Andy Murray, Lewis Hamilton and Rory McIlroy and I would argue this compares favourably with bigger countries like the USA, Germany and Brazil, or those with greater historic sporting pedigree like Australia. You might argue against the inclusion of Mark Cavendish for his lack of palmares but the cyclist has won 30 stages of the Tour de France  and will surely overtake Eddy Merckx’s 34. Of the other 4 they are still in their twenties and set to be the best ever these islands have produced in the sport.

Of course when you move from individual to national team sport – football, cricket and possibly rugby – the picture is less rosy. Spain is better in football, as is Germany, but can they produce as many individual champion as us? It’s a bit early to predict Olympic medals but the UK may well finish above those countries and Australia too. Russia rightfully does come into the equation. We can say that the UK sport have not been tainted by drug or betting scandals except for athletic bans.

So I would argue the position is quite healthy. Whilst England continue to fail – I prefer this word to under-perform as we have only won one trophy and that was 50 years ago – in the national sport of football, which occupies still off season a disproportionate amount of media space, national sports enthusiasts will be critical. In France they would happily swap a Froome, Wiggins or Cavendish for Les Bleus reaching the  Euro finals.

If you add equestrian sports to include horse racing rowing, sailing and snooker then the UK dominance increases. Sadly most of these sports will enjoy only a prominence in 2 weeks’ time in Brazil then slip into the margins once again.

About Tom Hollingworth

Tom Hollingsworth is a former deputy sports editor of the Daily Express. For many years he worked in a sports agency, representing mainly football players and motor racing drivers. Tom holds a private pilot’s licence and flying is his principal recreation. More Posts